Matt Stoller says this:

The Democratic Party is becoming an antiwar party that has been pulled out of the bipartisan imperialist consensus.

He then goes on to quote Tom Hayden:

The peace movement has been the key factor in forcing the Democrats to slowly disengage from the two-party coalition that facilitated the 2003 invasion. The pillar of bipartisan support for this war has fallen, and other pillars seem to be going down as well. The troops are stretched thin, the budget squeeze is real, and international support for the “coalition” is heading towards zero. Even the pillar of the Republican Party is shaky, with senators facing re-election in 2008 wondering if Bush has their interests in mind.

There have always been differences between Daily Kos, MyDD, and Booman Tribune, but we have all worked, from the beginning, to enlarge the number of Democrats in Congress. And we all, at least initially, were primarily motivated by our opposition to the decision to invade Iraq.

We got our congressional majorities. But we did not break the ‘two-party coalition’ that supports imperialism so long as it is conducted competently. We have no champion in the presidential race. We have no say in who is being recruited to run for Senate in 2008. If we get organized, we might have some influence on who runs for House seats, but Rahm Emanuel is still operating like a rogue elephant. This has left us open to the criticism that we were naive to think we could effect change within the two-party system, and it has led many to conclude that the only way forward is through third-parties. It’s a valid criticism and understandable under the current frustrating circumstances. But third-parties are not the way for the anti-war movement to go. As Hayden and Stoller note, the anti-war movement has made tremendous strides within the Democratic Party. But we’re not there yet. And we have to recognize what is standing in our way. What is standing in our way is that bi-partisan consensus for imperialism. Those that want to maintain our aggressive basing policies, that want to continue garrisoning the Middle East and Central Asia, those that have signed on for a new Cold War with accompanying military budgets, proxy wars, and blood-curdling talk of annihilation by our enemies, and those that define the rollback of these things as ‘defeat’.

Fighting back against these aggressive impulses requires two major things. First, we must have access to the major media outlets in this country. Blogging against the mainstream media, peeling the Democratic Party away from FOX, and providing our own analysis, is a part of the solution. But progressive Democrats need to appear on Cable and Network News and they need to write columns and editorials in major newspapers. We cannot afford to have our priorities set by David Broder, Nicholas Kristof, and Tom Friedman.

The second thing we need to do is field reform candidates in primaries (if they are unacceptable to Rahm Emanuel). In Philadelphia, we have reform candidates running for city council. For example, you can support Vern Anastasio for the 1st District. Maria QuiƱones Sanchez for the 7th District and Irv Ackelsberg for the 8th District. You can read about them here. You can see a spreadsheet of all the candidates for city council (including At-large candidates) here.

These reform candidates are running against the Philadelphia machine. This is the model for the ‘party within a party’ that I have written about. If successful, we will dismantle the Philly machine. The people in power in City Hall will not be beholden to the machine, and will have been elected in opposition to the machine. Well, there is a national machine, too. And it is coming into increasing conflict with the netroots. It’s hard to define what the netroots is, and it is impossible for a small number of bloggers to determine where it will go. It looks like it is getting ready to splinter, as people like Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong have different visions than people like Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller.

I think it comes down to this. There are those that are still committed to the Democratic Party, as a party. And there are those that are committed to the Democratic Party only as a vehicle. It is the only vehicle that has the potential to end this war and therefore an effective anti-war movement must operate within the party. But it can only be effective if it takes control of the party. And we can see our enemies more clearly now. Our enemies are led primarily by the Clinton camp, the DLC, the punditocracy, the mainstream media, and all that makes up the party machine (the DNC excepted). They are formidable opponents.

I firmly believe that we cannot accomplish what needs to be done without using the Philadelphia model on a national scale. Please consider helping our Philly reform candidates. Their success this year will give us momentum and verify the viability of this plan. Election day is May 15th.

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